The Senate Intelligence Committee has reportedly turned down Michael Flynn's request for immunity from prosecution in exchange for being interviewed as part of their investigation into Russia's alleged hacking of the 2016 presidential election.
Mr Flynn's lawyer was told immunity was “wildly preliminary” and “not on the table” at this point, a senior congressional official told NBC. It does not necessarily rule out immunity at a later date, as the investigation is still being pursued.
President Donald Trump has supported the decision of his former national security adviser to seek immunity in exchange for his testimony in congressional probes of possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Mr Flynn wants protection against “unfair prosecution” if he testifies before the intelligence committees of the US Senate and the House of Representatives, his lawyer, Robert Kelner, said on Thursday.
Mr Kelner confirmed that discussions had taken place with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and said “General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it.”
Mr Kelner said, however, that “out of respect” for the committees, he and his client would not be commenting on the details of their discussions with the committees.
He then accused the media of being “awash with unfounded allegations, outrageous claims of treason, and vicious innuendo.”
As for Mr Trump, he wrote in a tweet: “Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!”.
Senator Angus King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said it was too soon to discuss immunity for Mr Flynn. A government official with direct knowledge of the case told Reuters that lawyers for Flynn raised the immunity request roughly 10 days ago with representatives of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
1/9 Trump and the media
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer takes questions during the daily press briefing
2/9 Trump and the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Union leaders applaud US President Donald Trump for signing an executive order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington DC. Mr Trump issued a presidential memorandum in January announcing that the US would withdraw from the trade deal
3/9 Trump and the Mexico wall
A US Border Patrol vehicle sits waiting for illegal immigrants at a fence opening near the US-Mexico border near McAllen, Texas. The number of incoming immigrants has surged ahead of the upcoming Presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, who has pledged to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. A signature campaign promise, Mr Trump outlined his intention to build a border wall on the US-Mexico border days after taking office
4/9 Trump and abortion
US President Donald Trump signs an executive order as Chief of Staff Reince Priebus looks on in the Oval Office of the White House. Mr Trump reinstated a ban on American financial aide being granted to non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling, provide abortion referrals, or advocate for abortion access outside of the United States
5/9 Trump and the Dakota Access pipeline
Opponents of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines hold a rally as they protest US President Donald Trump's executive orders advancing their construction, at Columbus Circle in New York. US President Donald Trump signed executive orders reviving the construction of two controversial oil pipelines, but said the projects would be subject to renegotiation
6/9 Trump and 'Obamacare'
Nancy Pelosi who is the minority leader of the House of Representatives speaks beside House Democrats at an event to protect the Affordable Care Act in Los Angeles, California. US President Donald Trump's effort to make good on his campaign promise to repeal and replace the healthcare law failed when Republicans failed to get enough votes. Mr Trump has promised to revisit the matter
7/9 Donald Trump and 'sanctuary cities'
US President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January threatening to pull funding for so-called "sanctuary cities" if they do not comply with federal immigration law
8/9 Trump and the travel ban
US President Donald Trump has attempted twice to restrict travel into the United States from several predominantly Muslim countries. The first attempt, in February, was met with swift opposition from protesters who flocked to airports around the country. That travel ban was later blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The second ban was blocked by a federal judge a day before it was scheduled to be implemented in mid-March
SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images
9/9 Trump and climate change
US President Donald Trump sought to dismantle several of his predecessor's actions on climate change in March. His order instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to reevaluate the Clean Power Plan, which would cap power plant emissions
Testimony from Mr Flynn could help shed light on the conversations he had last year with Sergey Kislyak, Russian ambassador to the United States, while national security adviser for Mr Trump's presidential campaign.
Mr Flynn was forced to resign as national security adviser in February for failing to disclose talks with Mr Kislyak about US sanctions on Moscow and misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations, which occurred before Mr Trump took office.
Congressional committees and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are also looking into allegations of Russian meddling in the election campaign. Russia has denied allegations that it hacked emails of Democratic groups and released information to tip the presidential election toward Mr Trump.
Mr King said of Mr Trump's remarks on Mr Flynn: “This is not a witch hunt... This is an effort to get to the truth of some very important questions.
“There is no doubt whatsoever that the Russians were behind an effort to interfere in our elections,” he told CNN. “To continue to deny that - it just flies in the face of all of the reality.”Reuse content